books

Bread Alone is Not Enough

Efforts to get Jewish books to Holocaust survivors in Europe

02/22/2011

In the spring of 1946, Zalman Grinberg and Josef Rosenzaft, representatives of Jewish Holocaust survivors and Displaced Persons (DPs) in the American and British zones of post-World War II Europe, respectively, visited the United States. “Bread alone is not enough,” they poignantly pleaded to American Jews, “Send us poets, writers and singers to show us that Jewish life is not dead.”

Presentation of donation of books to JDC from the National Women’s League of the United Synagogue of America, c. 1945.

The Road Back To Haiti

New story in 'Haiti Noir' collection brings Mark Kurlansky back to the island nation.

01/19/2011
Staff Writer

Nearly all of the 18 short stories in the new "Haiti Noir" collection are written by Haitians. The book's editor, the prominent Haitian writer Edwidge Danticat, made an exception, however, for Mark Kurlansky.

A 62-year-old Jewish writer who lives in New York City, Kurlansky is well known for his best-selling histories of food - on salt, on cod, on oysters. But writers that know him well, like Danticat, are well aware of his longtime involvement with Haiti.

Mark Kurlansky

Gaza Doctor Sues; Friends Surprised

01/04/2011

One of the best-known tragedies of the Gaza conflict two years ago was the mistaken Israeli shelling of an apartment that killed the three daughters and a niece of Palestinian gynecologist Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish.

What made the tragedy all the more painful was that Abuelaish called a television reporter friend who was on the air when the shells struck and screamed into the phone, “My girls, oh God, they’ve killed my girls.” The reporter put his cell phone next to the microphone so the audience could hear Abuelaish’s anguished cries.

Montaigne’s Jewish Question

How much did the French philosopher know about his Jewish roots?

12/07/2010
Staff Writer

It should be no surprise that author Sarah Bakewell found in the 16th-century French writer Michel de Montaigne a voice that is entirely of the present.

“I’m flummoxed as to what to make of this whole story,” says author Sarah Bakewell, referring to Montaigne’s elusive Jewish back

Guilt On Trial

Elie Wiesel’s new novel explores themes of memory, justice and journalistic ethics.

Jewish Week Book Critic
11/16/2010

When Werner Sonderberg replies “Guilty … and not guilty,” after being asked to enter his plea in a New York courtroom, the judge and spectators are stunned. Sonderberg, a young German expatriate who is accused of murder, seems to want to explain something to the court, but he is silenced.

A complex murder trial forms the underpinning of Wiesel’s new novel.

Mr. Bellow’s Planet

11/16/2010
Staff Writer

Fittingly, the story of how novelist Benjamin Taylor became the editor of the newly published collection of Saul Bellow’s letters begins with a letter. Not a letter between Bellow and Taylor, to be sure — they never knew each other, in fact — but a letter between Taylor and Philip Roth.

The novelist’s letters — 708 of them — reveal his complicated relationship with Jewish life.

Object Lesson

In ‘Great House,’ Nicole Krauss explores the connections between memory and weighty things.

10/26/2010
Jewish Week Book Critic

A Hungarian-born antiques dealer with a fine eye for furniture helps people find pieces of their past — perhaps a chest from a living room broken up by the Nazis or a porcelain mantel clock. In his own stone house in Jerusalem,

Nicole Krauss says her plots are influenced by what's on her mind — the burden of inheritance. Joyce Ravid

Jewish Fiction Online

10/05/2010

When Nora Gold completed her first book, three publishers fought over the rights, and the book went on to win several awards. Now, with her latest book, she’s having trouble finding a publisher. She’s aware that many writers are going through the same frustrating times, as changes in the world of book publishing, including digitization, are resulting in the release of fewer books by traditional publishers.

Nora Gold: The Internet is her novel idea for helping Jewish writers.

Does Franzen's "Freedom" Suck?

I do not know about you, but I've been riveted by the debates surrounding Jonathan Franzen's latest novel, "Freedom".  In the new issue of The Atlantic, B.R. Myers strikes a devasting blow against a book that has been otherwise roundly praised.

As American As … Stuffed Pike

Jane Ziegelman explores the immigrant experience and the primacy of food in ‘97 Orchard.’

08/31/2010
Jewish Week Book Critic

I remember a round coffee table, made of smooth wood and a glass top that revolved, that stood at the center of my parents’ living room for many years. In the days when I wasn’t much taller than the table, my cousins and I would run alongside it as we turned it, and then sit on the edge for a ride, much like a private merry-go-round. The glass top broke several times, but even as we got older and it became less a ride and more a place to serve food, it was my favorite piece of furniture. With yet another new glass top, it now sits in my sister’s home.

A book with ta’am: Jane Ziegelman crosses ethnic boundaries to share gastronomic memories from the Lower East Side.
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